Thursday, October 17, 2013


Calhoun's Cannons for Oct 17, 2013

Now that the Tea Party Crashers and their spineless Republican wannabe Fanboys have left the trashed building, does somebody want to tell me what the hell that accomplished? It inflicted real pain on actual real people.  Check.  It damaged our economy and cost us a bundle.  Check.  It proved to the world that Americans are a bunch of idiots for electing these fools in the first place?  Check and check.

Anything else?  Right.  Nothing.  Nothing!

But, you must admit, the semantics of this whole deal were awesome!  Real Raven-writing-desk Jabberwocky stuff. While the country teetered on the brink of financial collapse, here's what passed for Republican "dialogue:"

"Will you vote for a clean CR?"
"It's red, about 6" square, with little wheels on it."
"What? Uh, no, I asked you, Will you vote to pass a clean CR?"
"I told you, it's red, about 6" square, with little wheels on it."
"Wait, I'm asking you about the CR.  Will you vote to pass it?"
"I already answered your question. It's red, 6" square, with little wheels on it."

Confused?  Well, you shouldn't be.  We've been living in Frank LuntzLand for years, though his malign influence really came to the fore when Obama got elected. Luntz, a Republican pollster/strategist/wordmeister, is the undisputed master of corrupting language in order to deceive the rubes into believing an alternate reality, then voting, often against their best interests, for that false reality.

One example: When the Affordable Care Act was being crafted, one section included paying for an end-of-life-care discussion with your doctor or with end-of-life-care specialists, a consultation that would give patients and their families information about all treatments and options so they would be not only fully informed but be able to make choices best for them.

A needed service, you might think?  If you've faced the death of a loved one, you know well the bewildering choices you have to make, often in haste, and wouldn't it be nice to have that information before need, or at the least, have a trained, informed navigator there to help you understand the often complex options? 

Well, you'd be wrong.  In an eyeblink, in LuntzLand, end-of-life-care-options became "death panels," wherein granny would face a tribunal who would judge whether or not she would live or die. Sarah Palin loved that Luntzism and along with others, including a Republican Senator (Grassley, who knew better) megaphoned it across the land. 

Yes, it was a lie, but lies are what Luntz gets paid handsomely to produce.   So, that much needed, really helpful section of the ACA was yanked out as a result of the hysteria that particular LuntzLie produced, and as a result real patients and their families were left to suffer on their own while facing an often bewildering system with no help.

And when confronted with this lie, here was the Republican response:
"It's red, about 6" square, with little wheels on it."

During these recent ridiculous government-shutdown temper tantrums, led by Lee Atwater's spawn, those Neo-Confederate Tea Party Crashers and their wannabe Fanboy followers, we've heard a constant call for "negotiations," and "dialogue" and "frank discussions." Ah, yes, "frank discussions," surely a necessity IF we presume that we actually want the government to function properly.

But in order to have a properly functioning government, we have to leave LuntzLand, because it's  impossible to have a "frank discussion" or "negotiate" or fix anything when language itself has been corrupted into deliberately dishonest Jabberwocky. In the real world, a clean CR is a clean CR.  It isn't red, it isn't 6" square and it doesn't have little wheels on it.    


TCG said...

Interesting take on things. I can't even follow all of it, but I am, also, dissatisfied with how my federal government representatives (in both parties) are functioning.

My thoughts have been about this: There is very little dissagreementkutio1315
that our Federal spending vs. revenue is unsustainable. A couple of years ago, The President organized the non-partisan Simpson-Bowles Commission, who's task it was to analyze the most serious budget related issues facing the Country and recommend fixes for the President and Congress to consider and, hopefully, negotiate and act on.

The President, and Congress, after some brief lip service, have chosen to not follow through on any of those recommendations.

The debt is now @ $17 Trillion, and growing. The Federal Reserve has been doing short term magic tricks to keep the interest rates artificially low. Those low rates won't last forever, and the amount of annual interest that our Federal budget will have to cover will be huge in the future, to the exclusion of other needed services and jobs.

I'm worn out with the George Soros/Tea Party bull shit. The people in charge in Washington are the ones who benefit from the acrimony of all the talking heads, because it distracts us from the real issues of concern.

Hope these comments aren't too far off topic, but at some point don't we have to look at the big picture?

Anonymous said...

Obama is correct; Americans ARE fed up!

BOTH parties are not doing the jobs expected and paid for by middle class Americans!

This latest settlement is nothing short of kicking the can down the road so that no real decision can be made as to how to pay for all the extra government give a-way programs. Actually, they know that they can just pass more taxes, especially since they will exempt themselves.

Maybe it's time for middle America to quit listening to the extremists and put a halt to the spending like most of us have already had to do over the past 5 or 6 years! Fire each and every incumbent who comes up for re-election, insist on a balanced budget and stop being the police of the world.

The problem however stems from years of polarizing America so that only extremists run for office and then take all the special interests monies to keep themselves in office. Today's government is so far off center that it may take a revolution to take back our country.

bunchadogs said...

" Today's government is so far off center that it may take a revolution to take back our country."

hmmmm....seems something an extremist would say.

Anonymous said...

Read again: "may take" leave a little room for reasonable leaders to discuss a broad and respectful approach to governing a large society.

The extremists each say "it's my way only" no reasoning outside their small circles and certainly no respect of anyone who doesn't think their very narrow way.

What we have today are small groups of kingdoms who can't and won't agree with any opinion outside their bastions. Currently there is no leadership of the very large middle class of America.

Billy Dunne said...

This continued pablum about the extremists taking over the parties is more than I can bear. Once again, it’s a misinformed rant to try to apply some kind of false equivalency to what is currently going on in Washington. It’s just completely laughable.

First of all, who are the extremists of the Democratic party? Let’s say it’s the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has I think about 50 members. Explain to me Anon 3:05 just how these extremists are running the party. Please. I’ll wait……

I’ll help. The CPC is dead set against the chained CPI in determining social security cost-of- living adjustments. Obama has already ceded this little gem to the Repugs in his 2014 budget. Sorry progressives.

Progressives have been in an absolute lather about the government’s domestic surveillance program. Have you seen Obama placate them by scaling back the program one iota? Sorry progressives.

What has Obama done about the thieving on Wall Street? The foreclosure scam? Hey, is Guantanamo still open? How about universal health care, not some watered down version that exists in the ACA? These are all Progressive hot button issues. Where's the love?

Nope, not a lot of listening to the “extremists” in the Democratic party. Obama governs slightly from the left of center at best.

Now, the Tea Baggers. How much sway do they have with the Repugs? Well unless you were asleep or dead for the past 3 weeks, it’s quite obvious. The extremists ARE in charge of the right, and god help us all.

But please spare us all the false equivalency BS. Unfortunately, Progressives are nothing more than a nuisance to Obama and the mainstream Democratic Party. The tea baggers ARE the Republican party as it now stands.

And you want a spokesman for the middle class? I'm with you. Do something about gerrymandering, and get the money out of politics. That should do it.

(By the way, campaign finance reform is another huge issue with's that working out for them?)

Alon Perlman said...

What Billy said, plus "first bit"; Gerrymandering may had been involved, but the band of tea baggers who actually caused this hiccup (costing us all about a billion per) are in pretty safe districts. This will translate into a shake up of incumbents, and "outsiders" and anti government mavericks will look good. So expect this tea baggery to fare well, while traditional, economically rational forms of right wing conservative thought, will be absent.
If only this was closer to the general election, direct consequences would track actions.

Churadogs said...

Will be interesting to see what happens in upcoming Calif. elections since the citizen committee re-drew the district boundries to get more "balanced" political numbers. Will that result in "middlish" candidates who will work together to actually get things done? If so, that might be proof of the pudding as to what needs to be done for the rest of the country.

Billy's right on all this. Progressives get little or nothing here, Obama's always been a centrist (the right demonized him as a Mau-Mau Muslim gansta who was gonna rape your wife and steal your money and put the whole nation on crack, which campaign was effective in scaring their ignorant base and getting them to the polls and gin up support for quietly ALEC-redrawing the districts into All Republican All The Time enclaves. (This was Karl Rove's wet dream, stealthily redistrict to ensure a Republican controlled Congress and Presidency forever.)

Besides redistricting and changing campaign laws (the upcoming Supreme Court ruling on this may open the floodgates and make that an utter impossibility absent a constitutional ammendment which is equally impossible), we need to have a serious discussion about "debt." Using the analogy of houshold debt and talking of "balancing the budget" is misleading. Countries can prudently USE debt for a variety of reasons. Sometimes debt is good (short term), I mean, if you own a home you know that debt (mortgage) is very useful indeed. So let's separate good debt from bad debt. THEN we can maybe honestly begin a discussion of debt/budget priorities.

However, before we do that we have to be honest about what we mean and what we're doing. Dog-whistle music, Sarah Palinisms, Fake Faux News-talking points, Frank Luntzism won't work here. Clean semantics, clear meanings, caution in separating out generalities, honest acknowledgement that we actually DO like our entitlements and actually ARE a heavily subsidized "socialized" country, where rich and poor both get their handouts, & etc. THEN maybe we can start deciding what we want to cut (and where the cuts would be the smartest) what we want to increase, (and where that would be the smartest by offering biggest bang for the bucks.)

Or we can continue being stupid and manipulated and conned like the boobs we seem to be and see what happens to this Republic. America isn't "exceptional." The rules of growth and decay applies to all. And right now Battered Wife Nation is in full disoriented disarray. Call the Women's Shelter.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, by all means, we need clarity in government: "what the meaning of the word 'is' is." B.Clinton

Anonymous said...

Pure truth in government, now where's that cigar.

Churadogs said...

Irony, Anonnymice, Irony. Old Bill was attempting for super-duper clarity -- it DOES depend on what the meaning of "is" is. That's what law is all about, and semantics. What, exactly, IS the meaning of "is."

True, his purpose was weaseling, but often that kind of exactitude is vitally critical, especially when crafting laws and setting policy. Whether your ox gets gored or the other guy's ox gets it can often depend on one or two words.

That's why words matter in government. "Death panels" or "End of life options counseling" HUGE difference. One injures, the other helps.

Anonymous said...

So what really matters in all things political is which weasel you hang your personal hat on.

The truth is, they are all weasels, dems and reps. It just depends on which set of truths, half truths and lies that one happens to believe. ALL of them lie to achieve their only true goal of getting re-elected and re-elected. It's all an expensive game, although not at their expense, they're all making big money off you and me! Screw the taxpayers, thanks good old weasel Bill, Ann still loves you.

Ron said...

Ann writes:

"Luntz, a Republican pollster/strategist/wordmeister, is the undisputed master of corrupting language in order to deceive the rubes into believing an alternate reality, then voting, often against their best interests, for that false reality."

Aw, gawd, PLEASE tell me there's not another one.

Now, I have to wonder: Has anyone ever seen Karl Rove, Pandora Nash-Karner, Tom Fulks, and Frank Luntz, in the same room at the same time?

I mean, they're all the exact same person, right?

They sure seem like it.

Fer god's sake, in the run-up to the 2005 LOCSD recall election, Pandora popped out a bunch of newsletters, and mailed them to every property owner in Los Osos, where she wrote:

"(If the recall is successful) The County or State would take over our (mid-town, Tri-W) Project, assume the permit and build the same Project in the same location."

[Insert buzzer sound here.]

She told that to voters, over and over and over again, in a perfect Rove-Luntz "deceive the rubes into believing an alternate reality" style "strategy," and it was based in absolutely nothing... obviously. She just made it up, to advance her private political (read: financial) agenda. And that's just one, of about a zillion examples.

What the definition of "is" is, is one thing. Making up lies, off the top of your head, solely as a "strategy" to influence "rube" voters into supporting your agenda(s), is, as Ann points out, quite another.

By the way, as long as I'm here: "Billy," do you know someone named Tom Fulks?

Anonymous said...

I thought Crawford was dead. Maybe because his headstone reads dead in 2005. There hasn't been an thought from him since then. No one cares who or what Ron Crawford thought anyway.


Anonymous said...

Ron Crawford is mentally ill.

Churadogs said...

Annonymouse sez:" It's all an expensive game, although not at their expense, they're all making big money off you and me! Screw the taxpayers, thanks good old weasel Bill, Ann still loves you."

Lewis Lapham once wrote a splendidly wicked essay for "Harpers" that spelled out the system we're actually living under: The virtual political world, all elections and balloons and candidates and "playing at" government and the REAL world of Davos, corporations, insurance industry, Wall St., big pharma, the arms industry. They're the ones that write the tunes we dance to.

As for loving Bill, boy would I love to see him back in office dealing with Ted Cruz. Or Mitch McConnell.(Actually, he and Mitch likely would have cut a sweet deal then poured Boehner a glass of scotch then gone off for a round of golf.)

And Ron sez:"Now, I have to wonder: Has anyone ever seen Karl Rove, Pandora Nash-Karner, Tom Fulks, and Frank Luntz, in the same room at the same time?"

Hmmmmmm . . . . . come to think of it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen a leader in the WH?

Bev. De Witt-Moylan said...

...saw this quote the other day in a similar context..."A successful parasite is one that is not recognized by its host, one that can make its host work for it without appearing as a burden. Such is the ruling class in a capitalistic society." -Jason Read

Billy Dunne said...

Ronnie: I only know Tom Fulks from his newspaper work at the Trib and his SloSense site. Why do you ask my little conservative friend?

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

Hey Ron, how's your chosen Ms. Arnold working out for you in drought stricken North County?

Anonymous said...

Be nice to Ron, he has a rash from using his straw potty too much lately. Butt he's saving water!

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...


Churadogs said...

Bev, great quote. Too true, alas. The very people who are really being so badly impacted are often those least aware. (Yes, I'm talking to you, all you Faux News fans.) It's really amazing the damage these people do. Rachel Maddow did a bit on the Koch Brothers, who inherited their daddy's money and are mind-boggling rich and who are spending pots of money financing these phony Astroturf groups dedicated to sabotaging and defeating Obamacare, and she wondered on air why they would spend so much of their Daddy's nice money preventing poor people from buying health insurance and getting better medical care. Such a good question. Bill and Melinda Gates spend their nice money helping people get medical care and the Koch's spend their Daddy's money preventing people from getting medical care. What kind of mentality is as work there? Amazing. And is "parasite" too kind a word for the Koch's?

Re Ron and Ms. Arnold, with the Board bound to be 4-1, she'll have her work cut out for her, especially since the Black Helicopter Crowd (i.e. Republican/Tea Partiers)is finally facing the Liar's Dilemma -- tell too many Frank Luntz-crafted lies and eventually, when you finally do tell the truth, nobody believes you. Case in point, Arnold voted against the ordinance, in part, because she wanted to delay it in order to better clarify "vested interests." She was right, that did need to be clarified, but nobody believed her. A lot of people have been sussing out all the Luntzian R/TP lies coming from Republican/TeaPartiers, Arnold is identified as a R/TP so everyone just just figured the "delay" she was calling for was more fake crap covering up her real reason -- kill the whole effort to keep the grape growers happy & etc. It's the same kind of "coding" we're hearing now from the crocodile tears weeping R/TPers who earnestly are pleading for "delay" to Obamacare, so we can "make it better."

Uh, sure. Right.

Anonymous said...

So you think ACA is the great solution to health care in the US?

If it were so wonderful, why the software disaster? If this were to have happened with a new program in any corporation in the world, the MIS and the software creators would have been fired by now. How could this disaster have been avoided? Someone should go to jail for lying to the country instead of going on a comedy show! And the software development company sued to return all payments, maybe the CEO thrown in jail too.

Too bad Calhoun is on Medicare and doesn't need Obamacare!

Ron said...

"Billy" writes:

"I only know Tom Fulks from his newspaper work at the Trib and his SloSense site."

So, you don't know him as the paid political "strategist," that sneaks around behind the scenes, and takes thousands of dollars from local politicians, like Jim Patterson, to, uh, "help" them with their campaign strategies?

You don't him on that level, "Billy?" Just curious.

How 'bout you, 'toons? Do you know someone named Tom Fulks on that level?

And, speaking of appropriate quotes for this thread, about a month ago, Ann, I added, to the permanent "Quotes" section over at ol' SewerWatch, that excellent Bill Maher quote you turned me onto a few years back:

"“The true Axis of Evil in America is the genius of our marketing combined with the stupidity of our people."
-- Bill Maher

Bill nails it. I swear, that's the tap root of what's wrong with everything in America these days.

Anonymous said...

My lord, Ron. Do you have anything better to do?

Anonymous said...

Poor Ron, he's still trying to log into Obamacare. Keep trying, it will be fixed in a week at most.

Churadogs said...

Anonymouse sez:"Too bad Calhoun is on Medicare and doesn't need Obamacare!"

Too bad Medicare For All wasn't allowed to be on the table when this whole issue started. Instead, it was thrown out from day one and the only thing allowed was for-profit insurance companies and big pharma, all of which demanded to be the only ones at the trough and vowed if Congress tried to create a Medicare For all type program, they would spend gazillions to defeat any effort. (Remember the infamous "Harry and Louise" ad campaign?) So what you see in the ACA is the cobbled together result, NOT a far better system that COULD have been created.

Anon 1:30 sez:"My lord, Ron. Do you have anything better to do?"

YOU'RE asking that of Ron? Think maybe you should be asking that of yourself as well?

Anonymous said...

Rep. Anna Eshoo of California, a Democrat, took issue with assertions by the companies and the Obama administration that one reason for the problems was overwhelming traffic on the site from people trying to enroll for coverage.

“Amazon and eBay don’t crash the week before Christmas,” Eshoo said. “ProFlowers doesn’t crash on Valentine’s Day.”

Sewertoons AKA Lynette Tornatzky said...

How well did that drug plan of Bush's roll out? If the Republican states hadn't dumped their states onto the federal plan at the last minute things would have gone better.

Churadogs said...

Reverend Al Sharpton aptly observed that this wasn't about computers. It was about getting people health care insurance who didn't/couldn't get it before, thereby covering millions more people. That's what it's about. And Lynette's right, many Republican states dumped or blocked any effort to get people signed up. What the Republicans are doing is like breaking somebody's knees then screaming bloody murder because they can't walk. That isn't governing, that's pathology.